Kenya is known for several things, and among them is her delicious cuisine. This cuisine is amazingly rich as it is a fusion of tradition and ethnicity. So, what is it about the tradition that informs Kenya’s food choice, thus making it so diverse? There are 47 tribes in Kenya. This means 47 staple foods and 47 different ways of preparing the same.
With this diversity comes the challenge of defining Kenyan’s favorite cuisines. What complicates the matter further is the fact there are is a new generation; the Millenials and Generation Z, who lean more towards the diet of the West. Pizzas, burgers, French fries, and fried chicken are common among youth who find these more palatable and perhaps less burdensome as they are just a phone call away.
However, all said and done, there are some meals that hardly a week passes before they are served in every average home. Here are some of them;
Ugali is the most popular food in Kenya. It is a starch made from maize, millet, sorghum or cassava flour. The flour is mixed with hot water and stirred until it becomes hard and firm. It takes a maximum of 30 minutes to prepare and is best served hot with vegetables, milk, or meat. Although bland on its own, the taste of ugali is enhanced by its accompaniments.
2. Nyama Choma
Nyama Choma is a Swahili word that loosely translates to roasted meat. In almost every joint and what seems like every street corner, it is common to find a barbeque set up, and different aromas fill the air the aroma of meat being charcoal grilled. This smell is tantalizing, so it is not uncommon to find large crowds surrounding a small table next to the flame, enjoying pieces of grilled meat. Goat meat, chicken, pork, beef, and sometimes game meat make for very good nyama uchoma. Kenyans love their meat served with ugali or French fries and kachumbari (salsa).
Chapati is a type of flatbread made from wheat flour. The dough is made by mixing wheat flour, water, salt, and oil. It is then cut into small pieces, flattened using a rolling pin, and cooked on a flat pan. Chapati is a versatile dish as it can be eaten for breakfast with tea or as a complete meal with vegetables, beef, or beans stew.
Githeri is a meal that consists of maize and beans. These are boiled separately and then mixed and fried. It is a highly nutritious meal. One of the reasons why githeri is loved is because it is very filling. Once you eat it, you can go for extended periods without feeling hungry. Potatoes, peas, and carrots or a preferred vegetable can be added to make it more appealing
Although it is a famous dish in almost all parts of the country, pilau is originally an Arabian meal. It is the result of Arabian influence on Kenyans in the Coastal region during trade relations. Pilau consists of rice, special spices, and meat. It is quite flavourful and considered a special dish served on special occasions.
Other delicacies that are common are fish, especially tilapia and mukimo, which consists of mashed potatoes, green vegetables, peas, and green maize.